This week I attended a dinner of about 10 people to welcome the new rabbi to my university’s Hillel; the group consisted of Jews from the entire spectrum of Judaism and observance. When discussing ways to better include queer jews, jews of color, and making sure everyone feels welcome at Hillel’s shabbat (many non-jews come to shabbat here with friends and are always incredibly respectful), one of the orthodox students expressed that the more time our hillel spent trying to be “inclusive of others” the less it became a space for Jews. With 10 jews at a table this turned into a looooong long debate, most of which was respectful and civil.
At one point the conversation became about the things that this student felt were “too far from Judaism” to make her feel welcome in the space anymore, such as using certain english words (her example was talking about the week’s “Torah portion” rather than “parsha”, which “no orthodox jew would ever do.”) Those of us who disagreed brought up the point that compromise creates a community, and catering only to orthodox desires ends up alienating conservative and reform jews. She responded that she and other orthodox jews give 80-100 percent of themselves to judaism, and should have a greater say than reform jews who “at best give 20 percent of themselves to judaism” and cannot call themselves jews in the same way.
What do you all, from anywhere on the Jewish religiosity spectrum, think about the matter/discussion? (orthodox jews this is in no way a slander of you, the other orthodox student present was in disagreement with her and your thoughts are very welcome here as well)